Two more "stupid" comedies opened in theaters over the weekend, one from the Wayans Brothers, lampooning a specific movie genre, and the other a Pauly Shore vehicle.
While the Wayans film at least has a couple of laughs, the Shore picture is as idiotic and laughless as we have come to expect.
"DON'T BE A MENACE To South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood" is an off-the-wall farce in the style of "Blazing Saddles," "Airplane!" and "Hot Shots!" targeting urban "growing up in the hood" pictures.
The range includes those alluded to in the title "Menace II Society," "South Central," "Juice" and "Boyz N the Hood" as well as "Poetic Justice," "Higher Learning" and even the recent "Dead Presidents." But it also goes outside the genre, to include "Stand By Me," "Nine 1/2 Weeks" and "Apocalypse Now."
The focus is Ashtray (Shawn Wayans), who returns to the hood when his mother takes him to live with his father. "Will I see you again?" Ashtray asks. "Sorry," she replies, "you know there ain't no positive females in these movies."
Ashtray links up with his cousin Loc Dog (Marlon Wayans), who wears pacifiers in his hair, and meets the dysfunctional misfits that make up the neighborhood. Soon, Ashtray falls for Dashiki (Tracey Cherelle Jones), who has seven illegitimate children, and finds himself in the middle of a gang war.
The sight gags and one-liners are fast and loose, but they're also quite specific. The Wayanses take for granted that those who see this one have seen all the "hood" movies for reference.
But too many gags fall flat, or are cheap and sleazy instead of clever and witty. Too often, the Wayanses (who also co-wrote the script) make fun of women's physical attributes, mock the handicapped, put a gun to someone's head or have an elderly woman cuss and smoke pot, as if they inherently hilarious. And then the same jokes are repeated in a slightly varied form.
By the way, Shawn and Marlon Wayans have a television series titled "The Wayans Brothers." They are the younger brothers of Damon ("The Last Boy Scout," "Blankman") and Keenan Ivory (who is credited as producer and has a cameo as a mailman who points out the "messages" in certain monologues).
All are veterans of the old skit series "In Living Color," along with sister Kim, who also has a cameo here. There are 10 Wayans kids altogether, leading to the funny in-joke that has has Loc Dog saying of Dashiki, "She has more kids than Mrs. Wayans!"
"Don't Be a Menace . . . " is rated R for violence, sex, nudity, profanity, vulgarity and drugs.
"BIO-DOME" could be called "Bio-Dumb-and-Dumber," with Pauly Shore and one of the Baldwin Brothers (Stephen, of "The Usual Suspects"), doing the Jim Carrey/Jeff Daniels thing.
Set in rural Arizona, the plot has two brain-dead slob slackers, Bud "Squirrely" Macintosh (Shore) and Doyle "Stub" Johnson (Baldwin), stumbling into the $100 million environmentally controlled scientific community of the title. They think it's a mall and are looking for a restroom, but they step in on the day it is being closed up for a year, as five scientists conduct survival experiments.
As you might guess, destruction, chaos and stupidity ensue. Or as one scientist describes it, it's a "non-stop moronathon."
Shore, who takes his incredible level of annoying behavior to new heights . . . or depths . . . is matched by Baldwin (we can only hope this is acting). Together they play a flatulence guessing-game, they spit food, they both chew Shore's toenails . . . . You get the idea. Baldwin's speciality is running into closed doors.
Typical joke: Asked by a scientist what he wants out of life, Shore replies, "To die and come back as a leotard."
If you find that hilarious, enjoy. If not, stay away.
"Bio-Dome" is rated PG-13 but is clearly in R-rated territory for sexual gags, profanity, vulgarity, violence and partial nudity.